Noa blogger Style with a smile


Interview

From High-End Jewellery, To Edible Garden Design. 


with Lucy

FOUNDER OF SHE GROWS VEG

Once the founder of her own a jewellery brand in London, Lucy has gone through a 360° life transition. A green - and organic- revolution of her own, as she is making a living of the edible garden she grows in South East England. She founded She Grows Veg and is an ambassador for the Heritage Seed Library. 

We discussed her life transition, garden activism, seed sovereignty; and her conviction that anyone can start growing their own garden, wherever they are, and whatever their initial knowledge on the topic is. 

_

WHAT LED TO YOUR JUMP FROM CATWALK JEWELLERY TO THE GARDEN? WAS IT AN EASY PROCESS?

I was always fuelled by a passion for design. Owning and growing my own brand eventually led to an increase amount of business tasks keeping me away from my initial drive. It was time for a change of perspective. Even though I was sure about my decision, my surrounding had their own doubts and fears. Eventually I went on and never looked back. 
Back in London, even though I was living in an appartement, I was already playing around with plants and herbs. Making a living from my garden was not initially a focus I actively pursued. I just loved gardening, especially edible plants, which became my obsession. As a started expanding my so called playground, my sister signed me in to Instagram so I could connect with the gardeners' community. Before I knew it, I started writing for specialised magazines, making videos, and sharing what I now know about the varieties I grow. 

YOUR GARDEN IS NOW IMPRESSIVE. HOW DID YOU LEARN HOW TO MANAGE IT?

I went back to my initial love for design and studied edible garden design, based on permaculture principles. A very different approach to exploring creativity. Other than that, it's all about gaining experience by simply doing. 

"Without the work of the Heritage Seed Library painstakingly researching, rescuing and growing these amazing old varieties, many would be lost forever."

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE VEG OR FRUIT?  

I’m a total tomato addict! I grow heirloom tomatoes in vast quantities, this season I’m growing 45 different varieties in every colour in the rainbow.I think they are one of the most useful and versatile thing you can grow. Obviously they are delicious eaten fresh, but also wonderful made into sauce, paste, powder, picker and chutney.
 

WHAT IS A "HEIRLOOM" VARIETY? 

It is a plant coming from a seed that is grown and nurtured by the farmers and gardeners, as opposed to commercially grown varieties coming from hybrid seeds. Hybrid seeds are engineered, patented and sold by multinational companies. Nowadays, hybrid seeds are at the origin of most of the fruits and vegetables you see in your supermarket. Most hybrid plants have sterile seeds and can't be replanted, forcing farmers to buy new ones every year. 
The concept of seed sovereignty means that you get your own non-genetically modified seeds from the natural plant reproductive cycle (open-pollination). It means not being dependant on industrial companies to purchase your seeds on an annual basis. Seed saving, despite being a traditional practice, has become illegal for some species because of the existing patents.


YOU ARE AN AMBASSADOR FOR THE HERITAGE SEED LIBRARY. WHAT IS THEIR MISSION?

The Heritage Seed Library preserves endangered fruit and veg varieties. They advocate for organic growing methods and are a precious source of information for gardeners, amateurs or professionals. Without the work of the Library, painstakingly researching, rescuing and growing these amazing old varieties, many would be lost forever. I help to grow some of these amazing veggies to raise public awareness around them, and hopefully make them popular again.

"It's all about doing (...) Your own mistakes will help other people too."

YOU BELIEVE THAT EVERYONE IS ABLE TO GROW THEIR OWN GARDEN WITHOUT MUCH KNOWLEDGE OR EVEN SPACE. WHERE SHOULD ONE START? 

Regardless of whether you have a garden or even a balcony, there is always something you can do. I used to grow plants at the windows of London appartement, and even using the space vertically! It's about doing. It's all trial and errors. That's why connecting with a community - on Instagram, Youtube or a garden in your town - will help avoiding some mistakes other people have gone through. Your own mistakes will help others too. 

Start simple with buying plants from your garden store. Once you build your confidence, you can go into propagation and experimenting with more specific varieties.   

Why do you ENCOURAGE people TO start gardening, and TO grow their own food?

To reduce your food miles and ecological impact, to have the confidence in your food security. The nutritional value of plants starts to decline immediately after picking, so the faster you eat them, the better they are for you. Also, growing and being surrounded by plants has been proven to positively impact your mental health.


What is your relationship to fashion/ jeweLlEry today, now that you transitioned out of the industry? 

I would say I’m more confident and comfortable with my image now than I ever was when I was in the industry.
 I don’t really have gardening clothes, I garden in whatever I’m wearing, so the clothes and accessories have to be up to the challenge!

WHAT IS THE FAVORITE PIECE IN YOUR CLOSET?

I love hats and my favourite is a classic black felt fedora that I bought in LA, it has a solid gold plated metal ring that runs round the inner brim, so subtle but so effective and different.


___ 


SEND LUCY YOUR QUESTIONS

___ 

The Café is your space! We want to hear from you.Share your thoughts and we'll get back to you as shortly as possible.


Name:

Email:

Message:

Subscribe to the newsletter for 10% off